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Advice On Finding A Placement/intern-Ship


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#1 rj9

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 03:23 PM

I originally posted the following on "General education & career related discussions" board but didn't receive any replays, I hope me posting this in the "Design discussions" board is isn't frowned upon

So I have been applying for a placement for a few months with no outstanding success (note: minimum total of 36 weeks total between 2nd and 3rd year of university degree).
In my unbiased opinion Iím in the top quarter of my class and I have a really strong portfolio. Not to mention Iím Solidworks certified, I have a wealth of experience in different minimal wage jobs and I believe I have no problems in communicating myself. All of this aside Iíve applied to every product design/industrial design placement/intern position I have found. Often Iím notified of my advancement through the recruitment process, called by companies to further explain the position and what is required and Iíve also had several interviews. The only reason I believe I have been unable to properly secure anything is the lack of positions I have been able to find. I feel I have exhausted Google searches, and the jobs posted on here and other similar sites such as Coroflot just seem to becoming less and less frequent. I know other students are struggling as only around 10% of students on my course have been successful in securing something for longer than the summer.
Note: I have recently secured some work for a small company doing a combination of design and modelling but the work is infrequent, unpaid and thereís no guarantee it will last for longer than the summer (I require 36 weeks minimum). Therefore Iím just as keen to find something as before.
I feel like the next stage is to strategically email companies who are not even recruiting and show them what I have to offer (cover letter, cv/resume, portfolio) in the hope that one of them will take a particularly strong liking towards me or log my application for the next available position. That being said I would really appreciate any suggestions of companies that may be worth an email. Additional if you know of anywhere else worth looking please let me know or have any advice for me.

#2 waikit

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 03:39 PM

Are you open to opportunities abroad? If not, perhaps you should consider that. Meanwhile keep designing for contests to build a stronger portfolio.

#3 rj9

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 05:10 PM

Are you open to opportunities abroad? If not, perhaps you should consider that. Meanwhile keep designing for contests to build a stronger portfolio.


Thanks for the replay, I have looked abroad and I would love to work anywhere abroad just for the experience!

Initially I thought America would be my best bet as there is no language barrier and due to the amount of positions but every application to a company based in America has been ignored as I haven't had a replay. I've had more success with applications to China and Italy but still not managed to secure anything

#4 waikit

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 04:12 PM

I heard it is very difficult to get a job in the US if you are not a US citizen, because it is a lot effort to provide you a work permit.
China is offering a lot opportunities. Check our job board ;)

#5 cash68

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 05:46 PM

I would not send your whole portfolio. Send a teaser. Showing too much work at once is overwhelming, and can leave the recruiters/companies a bit critical of some of your weaker work. Think of it like dating. You don't go straight to sex. Tease them a little bit with a resume, cover letter (that is not just a form letter, but one that expresses why you WANT to work there, and what you bring to the table that other people will not), and a small, 8.5" x 11" teaser. The teaser should have your name, contact info, and a small example of some of your work.

Then, the most important bit, wait 2-3 days, and call or SHOW UP. Do not ask whether or not you "made the cut". Ask for feedback. Say you have a lot more to show, and ask if there's anything else you could show them. This will allow you to tailor WHAT you are showing to, what they are interested in. It also develops a dialogue and form of communication. Be open to ANY feedback. I am in my current job because after they rejected me, I asked for just a basic portfolio review with professional designers, not a job. After getting some feedback, I modified my portfolio and showed them what I had a few days later. This was enough to land contract work. That later became a fulltime job.
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#6 rj9

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 02:57 PM

I would not send your whole portfolio. Send a teaser. Showing too much work at once is overwhelming, and can leave the recruiters/companies a bit critical of some of your weaker work. Think of it like dating. You don't go straight to sex. Tease them a little bit with a resume, cover letter (that is not just a form letter, but one that expresses why you WANT to work there, and what you bring to the table that other people will not), and a small, 8.5" x 11" teaser. The teaser should have your name, contact info, and a small example of some of your work.

Then, the most important bit, wait 2-3 days, and call or SHOW UP. Do not ask whether or not you "made the cut". Ask for feedback. Say you have a lot more to show, and ask if there's anything else you could show them. This will allow you to tailor WHAT you are showing to, what they are interested in. It also develops a dialogue and form of communication. Be open to ANY feedback. I am in my current job because after they rejected me, I asked for just a basic portfolio review with professional designers, not a job. After getting some feedback, I modified my portfolio and showed them what I had a few days later. This was enough to land contract work. That later became a fulltime job.


wow cheers, a lot to keep in mind. I've got a interview this week that's looking to be very promising but I'll be sure to give this a try

#7 ID2011

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 09:43 PM

yeah, the power of actually speaking to people face to face is important. Communication is so fundamental in design and the best way to make a good impression (on top of what Cash said) is to build a dialogue between you and your prospect employer. Show interest in the company + its ethos etc, not just the job. Design is one of those industries that it really helps to know people and make connections.

It took me a long time after graduating to realise that you have to think of yourself like a product. Sell yourself and make people want to buy you.




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